Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments found in many green vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and collard greens.  These are naturally occurring compounds which are concentrated in the macula of the eye.  They have antioxidant properties which help to protect your eyes from the damage caused by free radicals.

Here are some of the health benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin.

1. They help to protect your eyes from macular degeneration.

According to a 1994 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, regular consumption of foods rich in carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin helped in the reduction of age-related macular degeneration.  This disease is the leading cause of blindness among Americans who are over the age of 65.

2.  The help to prevent cataracts.

A cataract is manifested by the cloudy appearance of the normally clear lens of the eye.  Its indications include blurred or cloudy vision, poor night vision, double vision and sensitivity to light. 

According to a 2008 study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, the regular intake of foods which are high in lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with the reduced risk of cataracts.

3. They help to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by the accumulation of fats in the artery walls.  Overtime, this can develop into plaques in the artery walls which make your arterial walls narrow and hard.  This can obstructs normal blood flow and it can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain and possible heart attack. 

Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by the accumulation of fats in and on your artery walls, which form plaques and restricts blood flow. Over time, the plaques can make the artery wall narrow and hard, reducing blood flow. Restricted blood flow to the heart can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and heart attacks. According to a report from Eurekalert.org, lutein may help to lessen the risk of atherosclerosis by preventing the thickening of artery walls.